Results will keep on getting better, vows Swindon Academy principal

Swindon Academy principal Ruth Robinson

Swindon Academy principal Ruth Robinson

First published in News
Last updated
Swindon Advertiser: Photograph of the Author by , @EmmaDunnn

THE principal of an academy – which has been told by Government inspectors that it needs to improve – says staff will continue working hard to get the best results for their pupils.

Ofsted inspectors, who visited the school last month, said to become a good school Swindon Academy needs to improve the quality of teaching, raise attainment and progress across the academy, and improve students’ behaviour and attitudes to learning.

Principal Ruth Robinson, who took over from Jan Shadick last January, said they agreed with the judgement.

“We still have a long way to go but it is an exciting time because children can make more progress than they are now,” she said.

“You will see progress and achievement increasing even more in the future after all the improvements in teaching and learning over the last year.”

Eight years ago the academy, which was then known as Headlands School, was ranked as one of the worst in the country with only nine per cent of its 148 GCSE pupils achieving five A* to C grades in 2005.

This year, a total of 39 per cent of pupils achieved five A* to C grades at GCSE including in English and maths.

Mrs Robinson said: “We were pleased with the report because it recognises the incredible journey the academy has been on.

“The report recognises that attainment is rising rapidly and there have been really significant improvements in the quality of teaching and children’s learning and progress.

“We fully anticipate that children who attend this school will outperform what people expect of them, thanks to the initiatives already in place and the commitment of our pupils.”

The academy now has a consistent and effective approach to managing behaviour and tight systems for monitoring incidents. This has led to an 84 per cent reduction in fixed term exclusions in the secondary phase compared to the same period last year (357 days lost to FTE in Terms 1-2 of 2011-12 compared to 59 days in Terms 1-2 of 2012-13).

In the report, inspectors said: “The new principal provides inspired leadership. “She is supported very effectively by the associate and executive principals, and together they work with relentless determination to secure rapid improvement.

“Staff at all levels are proud to be members of the academy and work with enthusiasm to help students with their learning, personal development and wellbeing.

“Students say they feel safe in school.

“Leaders now rigorously monitor the quality of teaching and robustly tackle weaker teaching.”

However, inspectors also said: “While achievement across the academy is improving rapidly, students in all key stages and subjects do not make consistently good progress.

“Teachers do not always plan activities and tasks to meet the needs of all students in their lessons. “There are too few opportunities for pair and group work or for students to develop independent learning skills.”

Inspectors also said the school needs to work on students’ numeracy and literacy skills, students’ attitudes to learning, and quality of assessment.

“Although leaders are bringing about rapid improvement, many of the initiatives and staff changes are too recent to show their full impact on students’ learning or for new teaching practices to be consistently applied.”

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